Late last week Buzzfeed News, whose credibility had already taken a huge hit when the site decided to publish the bogus “Steele Dossier,” destroyed what remained of that credibility by publishing another “bombshell” that has now turned out to be a yuuuuge nothing burger.
The story by “reporters” Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold claimed that POTUS Donald Trump “personally instructed” his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about alleged negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Citing "two federal law enforcement officials,” the report noted further:
Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.
The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.
But within a few hours, the story fell apart.
It turns out that these details are not just questionable and subject to interpretation, they’re outright false -- and no less than special counsel Robert Mueller’s office says so.
“BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate,” the special counsel's office said. (Related: Mike Adams statement on Robert Mueller’s WITCH HUNT: Manafort, Cohen and Trump.)
Conservative talker Mark Levin thinks that the special counsel is just trying to protect his backside from another leak. In an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" program Friday, Levin said the special counsel’s office didn’t release the statement on the merits, or lack of them, regarding the story, but rather “to cover their asses because they don’t want a leak investigation.”
That's always possible, of course — Levin, a former high-ranking Justice Department official in the Reagan administration — knows how things work in government. But others are completely destroying the validity of the story, including many press outlets.
One of them was the Washington Post, known for its own fake news reporting on the Trump administration, lamented that the “apparently mistaken story…is the highest profile misstep yet for a news organization during a period of heightened and intense scrutiny of the press.”
Reporters Cormier and Leopold left themselves open for this criticism, as Matt Palumbo at Bongino.com points out:
— All of their sources are anonymous, which often happens with these kinds of stories, but there aren’t any documents to substantiate the claims. What’s more, in comments to news programs after their story was published, they said that they had not seen the evidence themselves but that only their “two anonymous federal sources” had seen it — and they could be ‘trusted.’
— According to a timeline of events, POTUS Trump was asking Cohen to lie for him before Congress after Cohen had publicly turned on the president; does that make any sense?
— The Moscow Trump Tower project never materialized if indeed it was ever really discussed. Also, conducting business in Russia isn’t a crime, last time we checked.
— In the past, Cohen has claimed he lied for Trump out of “blind loyalty,” not at any urging of his former employer. And since Cohen faces three years in prison beginning in March, it would behoove him to implicate the president in a scandal in order to further ingratiate himself with special counsel Mueller.
What’s more, Leopold has been in journalistic hot water before. In a 2006 Truthout.org article, he incorrectly reported that President Bush’s top advisor Karl Rove was indicted over the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, claiming that multiple anonymous sources “confirmed Rove's indictment is imminent.”
His lack of journalistic ethics was so bad it earned him a story at the Columbia Journalism Review titled, “Jason Leopold Caught Sourceless Again,” a reference to Leopold being caught fabricating details as a reporter for far-Left Salon in 2002.
Read more about the Left-wing media’s fake news problem at NewsFakes.com.